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Int J Clin Pract. 2014 Apr;68(4):512-9. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.12346. Epub 2014 Feb 6.

Gastrointestinal symptoms in NSAID users in an 'average risk population': results of a large population-based study in randomly selected Dutch inhabitants.

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Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Jeroen Bosch Hospital, 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands.



Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use is widespread and associated with gastrointestinal symptoms and complications. The aims of this study were to assess (i) gastrointestinal symptoms in users of prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC) NSAIDs and (ii) proton pump inhibitor (PPI) co-prescription rates in NSAID users at increased risk for gastrointestinal complications.


Surveys were sent to a randomly selected sample of the adult Dutch general population in December 2008. Questions included demographics, gastrointestinal symptoms, medication use and comorbidity. Main outcome measure was presence of gastrointestinal symptoms.


A total of 18,317 surveys were returned (response rate 35%), of which 16,758 surveys were eligible for analysis. Of these, 3233 participants (19%) reported NSAID use. NSAID users more frequently reported gastrointestinal symptoms than persons not using NSAIDs (33% vs. 24%, p < 0.01). Respondents who specified on prescription NSAID use (n = 683) were older, reported more comorbidity, and experienced more gastrointestinal symptoms (41%) compared with OTC users (n = 894, 33%, p < 0.01). This difference was not statistically significant after adjustment for confounders (0.99, 95% CI 0.71-1.37). In respondents with an increased gastrointestinal risk profile, PPI co-prescription rates were 51% for on prescription users and 25% for OTC users.


Prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms was high in both prescribed and OTC NSAID users, emphasising the side effects of both types of NSAIDs. PPI co-prescription rates in NSAID users at risk for gastrointestinal complication were low.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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